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Expand Networks enhances Compass Platform technology


Expand Networks has announced that its Compass Platform has been enhanced to give enterprise users superior performance reliability and enable flexible WAFS deployment options.

Compass 6.1 addresses some of the most extreme network issues in a seamless manner. There are three new prominent functional areas, including flexible WAFS deployment options, self-adjusting TCP acceleration and dynamic bandwidth adjustment.
In the past, file server consolidation projects meant that IT managers would have the tedious job of re-mapping branch clients to the central enterprise file server. Compass, with its virtual server architecture, has always been able to avoid re-mapping in these situations by assuming the name of the retiring branch file server, whereas competing “spoofing” products would require a complete re-mapping. Now, in cases where the branch office file servers have already been consolidated or clients are otherwise already mapped to the central enterprise file server, the Expand Compass Platform version 6.1 will transparently intercept file access requests, optimising the process, while concurrently retaining all of the domain enforced security and permissions (including NTLMv2).
“One of the largest tasks in deploying a WAFS solution can be mapping clients to the consolidated central enterprise file server,” says Brandon Rochat, sales director: Expand Networks Africa.
“Prior to the development of Compass 6.1, some WAFS solutions could avoid re-mapping in certain environments, but no vendor could avoid this task in every type of network environment. Expand’s Research and Development identified this pain point and was able to create the technology that gives Compass the flexibility to ensure that re-mapping is not needed.
"The ease of implementation, combined with Expand’s continued focus on maintaining domain security protocols – such as SMB signing – makes Compass unique in its ability to greatly reduce the effort required to implement file server consolidation.”
The upper echelon of WAN optimisation vendors offer acceleration technologies designed to speed the transfer of traffic across the networks. These technologies using rudimentary congestion algorithms often push traffic beyond the limits of the application infrastructure, causing packet drops and dramatic reductions in flow rates. A downside is that it starts over and repeats the process in an oscillating fashion. In contrast, the flow optimised acceleration control in the Expand Compass 6.1 using Vegas-style control algorithms continuously monitors the real-time state of each flow.
The algorithms tune the acceleration precisely to the optimal rate – never overloading the infrastructure and always ensuring consistent performance. The results are smooth and predictable flows with much fewer re-transmissions and a more reliable and efficient use of the entire infrastructure.
“A reality of today’s business climate is that accelerators need to be flexible, based on the many changes that happen in the WAN with traffic. This is inevitable at any given day, hour and point on the line – no matter what your network configuration,” says Rochat.
“While traditional QoS and compression technologies adequately avert congestion at the critical LAN-to-WAN demarcation point, they offer little help when the congestion occurs in the service provider network clouds. Compass 6.1 changes this paradigm as it is able to tune optimisation and QoS parameters in real-time thus mitigating complications caused by congestion in the network cloud or other downstream parts of the application infrastructure.
"This technology works on all IP traffic, not merely the portions of TCP traffic that some vendors are limited to. Our customers have come to expect this kind of functionality – reliable performance in the real world where dynamic conditions are the rule, not the exception.”